George Horne handed rare Scotland start against Italy

George Horne kicks the ball during Scotland v England match in 2024 Six Nations George Horne is set for his first Scotland start since 2019 (Jane Barlow/PA)

Scrum-half George Horne has been handed a surprise start for Scotland’s Six Nations showdown with Italy in Rome on Saturday, with Gregor Townsend making three changes to his starting XV.

The 28-year-old Glasgow back has been given the nod to wear the number nine jersey for the first time since the 2019 World Cup. Regular starter Ben White is rested and drops out of the squad altogether, with Ali Price – who has played no part in the tournament – promoted to the bench.

Saracens flanker Andy Christie is handed his first international start in place of Jamie Ritchie, who is among the substitutes.

Bath centre Cam Redpath made a positive impact off the bench in the 30-21 victory over England and replaces Glasgow’s Sione Tuipulotu, who will miss the remainder of the championship with a knee injury.

Back-rower Matt Fagerson, who dropped out of the 23 altogether for the last match, returns to the bench, with Townsend switching from a 5/3 split to a 6/2.

The Scots are currently second in the table and need a win to keep alive their slim championship hopes.

Scotland team to play Italy in Six Nations

Forwards: 1 Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Rugby), 2 George Turner (Glasgow Warriors), 3 Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), 4 Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh Rugby), 5 Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors), 6 Andy Christie (Saracens), 7 Rory Darge (Co-Captain, Glasgow Warriors), 8 Jack Dempsey (Glasgow Warriors)

Backs: 9 George Horne (Glasgow Warriors), 10 Finn Russell (Co-Captain, Bath Rugby), 11 Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby), 12 Cameron Redpath (Bath Rugby), 13 Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors), 14 Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors), 15 Blair Kinghorn (Toulouse)

Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman (Edinburgh Rugby), 17 Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs), 18 Elliot Millar-Mills (Northampton Saints), 19 Sam Skinner (Edinburgh Rugby), 20 Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh Rugby), 21 Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), 22 Ali Price (Edinburgh Rugby), 23 Kyle Rowe (Glasgow Warriors)

More Scotland Six Nations Rugby News >